A new biannual journal, MFON, features 100 women photographers from across the African diaspora. The journal is important and the photography is varied and stunning. These women should be far better known.
From an article and interview in Dazed with Laylah Amatullah Barrayn & Adama Delphine Fawundu:
In 1986, history was made when Jeanne Moutousammy-Ashe published Viewfinders: Black Women Photographers (Dodd Mead), the first book to showcase the history of African-American women behind the camera dating back dating back to 1866. It spanned more than a century of work, showcasing the work of artists whose work had gone largely unrecognised in photography, which the author described to the Chicago Tribune as a traditionally racist and sexist industry.
The book spoke to Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, a young photographer from Brooklyn, who wanted to see more. As years passed, nothing occurred – so Barrayn took it upon herself to be the change she wanted to see in the world. In 2006, she and photographer Adama Delphine Fawundu put together a prototype for the project that would become MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora.
MFON is a biannual journal that [has] launched a book of the same name featuring work of 100 women from across the diaspora, including Ming Smith, Delphine Diallo, Émilie Régnier, Lauri Lyons, Noelle Théard, and Dr. Deborah Willis, who wrote the introduction. MFON is named for Mmekutmfon “Mfon” Essien (1967 – 2001) a visionary Nigerian-American photographer who died from breast cancer the day before her photographs from The Amazon’s New Clothes, opened at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in the acclaimed exhibition Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers…
“MFON is a historical document on the history of photography. It also serves as a global contemporary voice of women of different generations and genres. Since the publication of Viewfinders, there hasn’t been much of an update. Several generations of these photographers have passed and it was time to create a document around their works.”
– Laylah Amatullah Barrayn & Adama Delphine Fawundu
The work is remarkable. It is worth seeing all of it.